Part 9 out of 10
When had she given so much thought to a man whom she had disliked?
Even in her disapproval of him, even when her soldier friends
appeared at their best and she was contrasting him with them to his
fatal disadvantage as she believed, thoughts of him would pursue
her constantly. Now that he had shown himself the peer of each and
all in manhood and courage, it seemed as if feelings, long held
in check, were released and were sweeping irresistibly towards one
conclusion. Merwyn was more to her than any other man in the world.
He had fulfilled her ideal, and was all the more attractive because
he was capable of such deep, strong passion, and yet could be so
resolute and cool.
"But how can I ever undeceive him?" was her most perplexing thought.
"I cannot make advances. Well, well, the future must disentangle
Now that she was beginning to understand herself, every instinct
of her being led towards reserve. In a misunderstanding with her
soldier friends she could easily and frankly effect a reconciliation,
but she must be dumb with Merwyn, and distant in manner, to the
degree that she was self-conscious.
Suddenly she became aware that it was growing late, and that her
father had not returned, and for the next hour she suffered terribly
from anxiety, as did many women in those days of strange vicissitudes.
At last, a little before midnight, he came, looking stern and
anxious. "I will soon explain," he said to her. "Take this woman
to her room." Then, to his aroused and sleepy agents: "You have had
some rest and respite. Go to the nearest hotel and take a little
more, but be up with the dawn and do your best, for to-morrow
promises to be worse than to-day."
With a few further instructions he dismissed them.
Upon reaching the library he said to his daughter: "I've been at
a conference in which the police, military, and state authorities
took part, and things look gloomy. I have also sent further
despatches. My dear child, I wish you were with your mother, but
I'm too weary to think any more to-night."
"Papa, the question of my remaining has been settled. Now rest.
Mr. Merwyn came and brought good news."
"Yes, I know all about it. Why did he not stay?"
"He naturally wished to return and look after his own home."
"True enough. I hope he found it unharmed. He has proved himself a
grand, brave fellow to-day, and I only wish it was my privilege to
fight at his side. It would be far easier than to carry my burden."
"Not another perplexing thought to-night, papa."
"Well, Marian, I must have some sleep, to be equal to to-morrow. You
must obey orders and sleep also. I shall not take off my clothes,
and shall be ready for any emergency; and do you also sleep in your
He kissed her fondly, but with heavy eyes.
A FAIR FRIEND AND FOUL FOES.
THE reader has already discovered that I have not attempted anything
approaching a detailed history of the dreadful days of the riot.
I merely hope to give a somewhat correct impression of the hopes,
fears, and passions which swayed men's minds and controlled
or directed their action. Many of the scenes are too horrible to
be described, and much else relating to the deeds and policy of
recognized leaders belongs to the sober page of history. The city
was in awful peril, and its destruction would have crippled the
general government beyond all calculation. Unchecked lawlessness
in New York would soon have spread to other centres. That cool,
impartial historian, the Comte de Paris, recognized the danger in
his words: "Turbulent leaders were present in the large cities of
the East, which contained all the elements for a terrible insurrection.
This insurrection was expected to break out in New York, despite
Lee's defeat: one may judge what it might have been had Lee achieved
With the best intentions the administration had committed many grave
errors,--none more so, perhaps, than that of ordering the draft to
be inaugurated at a time when the city was stripped of its militia.
Now, however, it only remained for the police and a few hundreds
of the military to cope with the result of that error,--a reckless
mob of unnumbered thousands, governed by the instinct to plunder
When the sun dawned in unclouded splendor on the morning of the
14th of July, a superficial observer, passing through the greater
part of the city, would not have dreamed that it could become a
battle-ground, a scene of unnumbered and untold outrages, during
the day. It was hard for multitudes of citizens, acquainted with
what had already taken place, to believe in the continuance of
such lawlessness. In large districts there was an effort to carry
on business as usual. In the early hours vehicles of every kind
rattled over the stony pavement, and when at last Merwyn awoke,
the sounds that came through his open windows were so natural that
the events of the preceding day seemed but a distorted dream. The
stern realities of the past and the future soon confronted him,
however, and he rang and ordered breakfast at once.
Hastily disguising himself as he had done before, he again summoned
his faithful servant. This man's vigilance had enabled him to
admit his master instantly the night before. Beyond the assurance
that all was well and safe Merwyn had not then listened to a word,
yielding to the imperative craving for sleep and rest. These,
with youth and the vigor of a strong, unvitiated constitution, had
restored him wonderfully, and he was eager to enter on the perils
and duties of the new day. His valet and man-of-all-work told him
that he had been at pains to give the impression that the family
was away and the house partially dismantled.
"It wouldn't pay ye," he had said to a band of plunderers, "to bother
with the loikes of this house when there's plenty all furnished."
With injunctions to maintain his vigilance and not to be surprised
if Merwyn's absence was prolonged, the young man hastened away,
paving no heed to entreaties to remain and avoid risks.
It was still early, but the uneasy city was waking, and the streets
were filling with all descriptions of people. Thousands were
escaping to the country; thousands more were standing in their doors
or moving about, seeking to satisfy their curiosity; while in the
disaffected districts on the east and the west side the hosts of
the mob were swarming forth for the renewal of the conflict, now
inspired chiefly by the hope of plunder. Disquiet, anxiety, fear,
anger, and recklessness characterized different faces, according
to the nature of their possessors; but as a rule even the most
desperate of the rioters were singularly quiet except when under
the dominion of some immediate and exciting influence.
In order to save time, Merwyn had again hired a hack, and, seated
with the driver, he proceeded rapidly, first towards the East
River, and then, on another street, towards the Hudson. His eyes,
already experienced, saw on every side the promise of another bloody
day. He was stopped and threatened several times, for the rioters
were growing suspicious, fully aware that detectives were among
them, but he always succeeded in giving some plausible excuse. At
last, returning from the west side, the driver refused to carry
him any longer, and gave evidence of sympathy with the mob.
Merwyn quietly showed him the butt of a revolver, and said, "You
will drive till I dismiss you."
The man yielded sullenly, and Merwyn alighted near Mr. Vosburgh's
residence, saying to his Jehu, "Your course lies there," pointing
east,--and he rapidly turned a corner.
As Merwyn had surmised, the man wheeled his horses with the purpose
of following and learning his destination. Observing this eager
quest he sprung out upon him from a doorway and said, "If you try
that again I'll shoot you as I would a dog." The fellow now took
counsel of discretion.
Going round the block to make sure he was not observed, Merwyn
reached the residence of Mr. Vosburgh just as that gentleman was
rising from his breakfast, and received a cordial welcome.
"Why, Merwyn," he exclaimed, "you look as fresh as a June daisy
The young fellow had merely bowed to Marian, and now said, "I
cannot wonder at your surprise, remembering the condition in which
I presented myself last night."
"Condition? I do not understand."
Marian laughed, as she said: "Papa came in about midnight in scarcely
better plight. In brief, you were both exhausted, and with good
"But you did not tell me, Marian--"
"No," she interrupted; "nothing but a life-and-death emergency
should have made me tell you anything last night."
"Why, our little girl is becoming a soldier and a strategist.
I think you had better make your report over again, Mr. Merwyn;"
and he drew out a fuller account of events than had been given
the evening before, also the result of the young man's morning
Marian made no effort to secure attention beyond offering Merwyn
a cup of coffee.
"I have breakfasted," he said, coldly.
"Take it, Merwyn, take it," cried Mr. Vosburgh. "Next to courage,
nothing keeps up a soldier better than coffee. According to your
own view we have another hard day before us."
Merwyn complied, and bowed his thanks.
"Now for plans," resumed Mr. Vosburgh. "Are you going to police
"Direct from here."
"I shall be there occasionally, and if you learn anything important,
leave me a note. If I am not there and you can get away, come here.
Of course I only ask this as of a friend and loyal man. You can
see how vitally important it is that the authorities at Washington
should be informed. They can put forth vast powers, and will do so
as the necessity is impressed upon them. If we can only hold our
own for a day or two the city will be full of troops. Therefore
remember that in aiding me you are helping the cause even more
than by fighting with the best and bravest, as you did yesterday.
You recognize this fact, do you not? I am not laying any constraint
on you contrary to your sense of duty and inclination."
"No, sir, you are not. I should be dull indeed did I not perceive
that you are burdened with the gravest responsibilities. What
is more, your knowledge guides, in a measure, the strong national
hand, and I now believe we shall need its aid."
"That's it, that's the point. Therefore you can see why I am eager
to secure the assistance of one who has the brains to appreciate
the fact so quickly and fully. Moreover, you are cool, and seem to
understand the nature of this outbreak as if you had made a study
of the mobs."
"I have, and I have been preparing for this one, for I knew that
it would soon give me a chance to prove that I was not a coward."
Marian's cheeks crimsoned.
"No more of that, if you please," said Mr. Vosburgh, gravely. "While
it is natural that you should feel strongly, you must remember
that both I and my daughter have asked your pardon, and that you
yourself admitted that we had cause for misjudging you. We have
been prompt to make amends, and I followed you through yesterday's
fight at some risk to see that you did not fall into the hands of
strangers, if wounded. I could have learned all about the fight
at a safer distance. You are now showing the best qualities of a
soldier. Add to them a soldier's full and generous forgiveness when
a wrong is atoned for,--an unintentional wrong at that. We trust
you implicitly as a man of honor, but we also wish to work with
you as a friend."
Mr. Vosburgh spoke with dignity, and the young fellow's face flushed
under the reproof in his tone.
"I suppose I have become morbid on the subject," he said, with some
embarrassment. "I now ask your pardon, and admit that the expression
was in bad taste, to say the least."
"Yes, it was, in view of the evident fact that we now esteem and
honor you as a brave man. I would not give you my hand in friendship
and trust concerning matters vital to me were this not so."
Merwyn took the proffered hand with a deep flush of pleasure.
"Having learned the bitterness of being misjudged," said Marian,
quietly, "Mr. Merwyn should be careful how he misjudges others."
"That's a close shot, Merwyn," said Mr. Vosburgh, laughing.
Their guest started and bent a keen glance on the girl's averted face,
and then said, earnestly: "Miss Vosburgh, your father has spoken
frankly to me and I believe him. Your words, also, are significant
if they mean anything whatever. I know well what is before
me to-day,--the chances of my never seeing you again. I can only
misjudge you in one respect. Perhaps I can best make everything
clear to your father as well as yourself by a single question. If
I do my duty through these troubles, Mr. Vosburgh being the judge,
can you give me some place among those friends who have already,
and justly, won your esteem? I know it will require time. I have
given you far more cause for offence than you have given me, but I
would be glad to fight to-day with the inspiration of hope rather
than that of recklessness."
Her lip trembled as she faltered: "You would see that you have
such a place already were you not equally prone to misjudge. Do you
think me capable of cherishing a petty spite after you had proved
yourself the peer of my other friends?"
"That I have not done, and I fear I never can. You have seen that
I have been under a strong restraint which is not removed and which
I cannot explain. To wear, temporarily, a policeman's uniform is
probably the best I can hope for."
"I was thinking of men, Mr. Merwyn, not uniforms. I have nothing
whatever to do with the restraint to which you refer. If my father
trusts you, I can. Do not think of me so meanly as to believe I
cannot give honest friendship to the man who is risking his life
to aid my father. Last evening you said I had been off my guard.
I must and will say, in self-defence, that if you judge me by that
hour of weakness and folly you misjudge me."
"Then we can be friends," he said, holding out his hand, his face
full of the sunshine of gladness.
"Why not?" she replied, laughing, and taking his hand,--"that is,
on condition that there is no more recklessness."
Mr. Vosburgh rose and said, with a smile: "Now that there is complete
amity in the camp we will move on the enemy. I shall go with you,
Merwyn, to police-headquarters;" and he hastily began his preparation.
Left alone with Marian a moment, Merwyn said, "You cannot know how
your words have changed everything for me."
"I fear the spirit of the rioters is unchanged, and that you are
about to incur fearful risks."
"I shall meet them cheerfully, for I have been under a thick cloud
too long not to exult in a little light at last."
"Ready?" said Mr. Vosburgh.
Again Merwyn took her hand and looked at her earnestly as he said,
"Good-by, Heaven bless you, whatever happens to me;" and he wondered
at the tears that came into her eyes.
Making their way through streets which were now becoming thronged, Mr.
Vosburgh and Merwyn reached police headquarters without detention.
They found matters there vastly changed for the better: the
whole police force well in hand; and General Harvey Brown, a most
capable officer, in command of several hundred soldiers. Moreover,
citizens, in response to a call from the mayor, were being enrolled
in large numbers as special policemen. Merwyn was welcomed by his old
companions under the command of Inspector Carpenter, and provided
with a badge which would indicate that he now belonged to the police
Telegrams were pouring in announcing trouble in different sections.
Troops were drawn up in line on Mulberry Street, ready for instant
action, and were harangued by their officers in earnest words which
were heeded and obeyed, for the soldiers vied with the police in
courage and discipline.
Soon after his arrival Merwyn found himself marching with a force
of policemen two hundred and fifty strong, led by Carpenter and
followed by a company of the military. The most threatening gatherings
were reported to be in Second and Third Avenues.
The former thoroughfare, when entered, was seen to be filled as far
as the eye could reach, the number of the throng being estimated
at not less than ten thousand. At first this host was comparatively
quiet, apparently having no definite purpose or recognized leaders.
Curiosity accounted for the presence of many, the hope of plunder
for that of more; but there were hundreds of ferocious-looking men
who thirsted for blood and lawless power. A Catholic priest, to
his honor be it said, had addressed the crowd and pleaded for peace
and order; but his words, although listened to respectfully, were
soon forgotten. What this section of the mob, which was now mustering
in a score of localities, would have done first it is impossible
to say; for as it began to be agitated with passion, ready to
precipitate its brutal force on any object that caught its attention,
the cry, "Cops and soldiers coming," echoed up the avenue from
block to block, a long, hoarse wave of sound.
Carpenter, with his force, marched quietly through the crowd from
21st to 32d Street, paying no heed to the hootings, yells, and vile
epithets that were hurled from every side. Dirty, ragged women,
with dishevelled hair and bloated faces, far exceeded the men in the
use of Billingsgate; and the guardians of the law, as they passed
through those long lines of demoniacal visages, scowling with hate,
and heard their sulphurous invectives, saw what would be their fate
if overpowered. It was a conflict having all the horrors of Indian
warfare, as poor Colonel O'Brien, tortured to death through the
long hot afternoon of that same day, learned in agony.
The mob in the street had not ventured on anything more offensive
than jeers and curses, but when Carpenter's command reached 32d
Street it was assailed in a new and deadly manner. Rioters, well
provided with stones and brick-bats, had stationed themselves on the
roofs, and, deeming themselves secure, began to rain the missiles
on the column below, which formed but too conspicuous a mark. This
was a new and terrible danger which Merwyn had not anticipated, and
he wondered how Carpenter would meet the emergency. Comrades were
falling around him, and a stone grazed his shoulder which would
have brained him had it struck his head.
Their leader never hesitated a moment. The command, "Halt, charge
those houses, brain every devil that resists," rang down the line.
The crowd on the sidewalk gave way before the deeply incensed and
resolute officers of the law. Merwyn, with a half-dozen others,
seized a heavy pole which had been cut down in order to destroy
telegraphic communication, and, using it as a ram, crashed in the
door of a tall tenement-house on the roof of which were a score of
rioters, meantime escaping their missiles as by a miracle. Rushing
in, paying no heed to protests, and clubbing those who resisted, he
kept pace with the foremost. In his left hand, however, he carried
his trusty revolver, for he did not propose to be assassinated by
skulkers in the dark passage-ways. Seeing a man levelling a gun
from a dusky corner, he fired instantly, and man and gun dropped.
As the guardians of the law approached the scuttle, having fought
their way thither, the ruffians stood ready to hurl down bricks,
torn from the chimneys; but two or three well-aimed shots cleared
the way, and the policemen were on the roof, bringing down a man
with every blow. One brawny fellow rushed upon Merwyn, but received
such a stroke on his temple that he fell, rolled off the roof, and
struck the pavement, a crushed and shapeless mass.
The assaults upon the other houses were equally successful, but
the fight was a severe one, and was maintained for nearly an hour.
The mob was appalled by the fate of their friends, and looked on
in sullen, impotent anger.
Having cleared the houses, the police re-formed in the street, and
marched away to other turbulent districts.
Only the military were left, and had formed about a block further
to the north. Beyond the feeble demonstration of the invalid corps
the rioters, as yet, had had no experience with the soldiery. That
policemen would use their clubs was to them a matter of course, but
they scarcely believed that cannon and musketry would be employed.
Moreover, they were maddened and reckless that so many of their
best and bravest had been put hors de combat. The brief paralysis
caused by the remorseless clubs of the police passed, and like
a sluggish monster, the mob, aroused to sudden fury, pressed upon
the soldiery, hurling not only the vilest epithets but every missile
on which they could lay their hands. Colonel O'Brien, in command
for the moment, rode through the crowd, supposing he could overawe
them by his fearless bearing; but they only scoffed at him, and
the attack upon his men grew more bold and reckless.
The limit of patience was passed. "Fire!" he thundered, and the
howitzers poured their deadly canister point-blank into the throng.
At the same time the soldiers discharged their muskets. Not only
men, but women fell on every side, one with a child in her arms.
A warfare in which women stand an equal chance for death and wounds
is a terrible thing, and yet this is usually an inseparable feature
of mob-fighting. However, setting aside the natural and instinctive
horror at injuring a woman, the depraved creatures in the streets
were deserving of no more sympathy than their male abettors in
every species of outrage. They did their utmost to excite and keep
alive the passions of the hour. Many were armed with knives, and
did not hesitate to use them, and when stronger hands broke in the
doors of shops and dwellings they swarmed after,--the most greedy
and unscrupulous of plunderers. If a negro man, woman, or child
fell into their hands, none were more brutal than the unsexed hags
of the mob.
If on this, and other occasions, they had remained in their homes
they would not have suffered, nor would the men have been so
ferocious in their violence. They were the first to yield to panic,
however, and now their shrieks were the loudest and their efforts
to escape out of the deadly range of the guns the most frantic.
In a few moments the avenue was cleared, and the military marched
away, leaving the dead and wounded rioters where they had fallen,
as the police had done before. Instantly the friends of the sufferers
gathered them up and carried them into concealment.
This feature, from the first, was one of the most marked
characteristics of the outbreak. The number of rioters killed and
wounded could be only guessed at approximately, for every effort
was made to bury the bodies secretly, and keep the injured in
seclusion until they either died or recovered. Almost before a fight
was over the prostrate rioters would be spirited away by friends
or relatives on the watch.
The authorities were content to have it so, for they had no place
or time for the poor wretches, and the police understood that they
were to strike blows that would incapacitate the recipients for
In the same locality which had witnessed his morning fight, Colonel
O'Brien, later in the day, met a fate too horrible to be described.
HAVING again reached police headquarters, Merwyn rested but a short
time and then joined a force of two hundred men under Inspector
Dilkes, and returned to the same avenue in which he had already
incurred such peril. The mob, having discovered that it must cope
with the military as well as the police, became eager to obtain
arms. It so happened that several thousand carbines were stored in
a wire factory in Second Avenue, and the rioters had learned the
fact. Therefore they swarmed thither, forced an entrance, and began
to arm themselves and their comrades. A despatch to headquarters
announced the attack at its commencement, and the force we have
named was sent off in hot haste to wrest from the mob the means
of more effective resistance. Emerging into the avenue from 21st
Street, Dilkes found the thoroughfare solid with rioters, who, instead
of giving way, greeted the police with bitter curses. Hesitating
not a moment on account of vast inequality of numbers, the leader
formed his men and charged. The mob had grown reckless with every
hour, and it now closed on the police with the ferocity of a wild
beast. A terrible hand-to-hand conflict ensued, and Merwyn found
himself warding off and giving blows with the enemy so near that
he could almost feel their hot, tainted breath on his cheek, while
horrid visages inflamed with hate and fury made impressions on his
mind that could not easily pass away. It was a close, desperate
encounter, and the scorching July sun appeared to kindle passion
on either side into tenfold intensity. While the police were
disciplined men, obeying every order and doing nothing at random,
they WERE men, and they would not have been human if anger and
thoughts of vengeance had not nerved their arms as they struck down
ruffians who would show no more mercy to the wounded or captured
than would a man-eating tiger.
Since the mob would not give way, the police cut a bloody path
through the throng, and forced their way like a wedge to the factory.
Their orders were to capture all arms; and when a rioter was seen
with a carbine or a gun of any kind, one or more of the police would
rush out of the ranks and seize it, then fight their way back.
By the time they reached the factory so many of the mob had
been killed or wounded, and so many of their leaders were dead or
disabled, that it again yielded to panic and fled. One desperate
leader, although already bruised and bleeding, had for a time
inspired the mob with much of his own reckless fury, and was left
almost alone by his fleeing companions. His courage, which should have
been displayed in a better cause, cost him dear, for a tremendous
blow sent him reeling against a fence, the sharp point of one of
the iron pickets caught under his chin, and he hung there unheeded,
impaled and dying. He was afterwards taken down, and beneath
his soiled overalls and filthy shirt was a fair, white skin, clad
in cassimere trousers, a rich waistcoat, and the finest of linen.
His delicate, patrician features emphasized the mystery of his
personality and action.
When all resistance in the street was overcome, there still remained
the factory, thronged with armed and defiant rioters. Dilkes
ordered the building to be cleared, and Merwyn took his place in
the storming party. We shall not describe the scenes that followed.
It was a strife that differed widely from Lane's cavalry charge
on the lawn of a Southern plantation, with the eyes of fair women
watching his deeds. Merwyn was not taking part with thousands in a
battle that would be historic as Strahan and Blauvelt had done at
Gettysburg. Every element of romance and martial inspiration was
wanting. It was merely a life-and-death encounter between a handful
of policemen and a grimy, desperate band of ruffians, cornered like
rats, and resolved to sell their lives dearly.
The building was cleared, and at last Merwyn, exhausted and panting,
came back with his comrades and took his place in the ranks. His
club was bloody, and his revolver empty. The force marched away in
triumph escorting wagons loaded with all the arms they could find,
and were cheered by the better-disposed spectators that remained
on the scene of action.
The desperate tenacity of the mob is shown by the fact that it
returned to the wire factory, found some boxes of arms that had been
overlooked, filled the great five-story building and the street
about it, and became so defiant that the same battle had to be
fought again in the afternoon with the aid of the military.
For the sake of making a definite impression we have touched upon
the conflicts taking place in one locality. But throughout this awful
day there were mobs all over the city, with fighting, plundering,
burning, the chasing and murdering of negroes occurring at the same
time in many and widely separated sections. Telegrams for aid were
pouring into headquarters from all parts of the city, large tracts
of which were utterly unprotected. The police and military could be
employed only in bodies sufficiently large to cope with gatherings
of hundreds or thousands. Individual outrages and isolated instances
of violence and plunder could not be prevented.
But law-abiding citizens were realizing their danger and awakening
to a sense of their duty. Over four hundred special policemen were
sworn in. Merchants and bankers in Wall Street met and resolved to
close business. Millionnaires vied with their clerks and porters
in patriotic readiness to face danger. Volunteer companies were
formed, and men like Hon. William E. Dodge, always foremost in every
good effort in behalf of the city, left their offices for military
duty. While thousands of citizens escaped from the city, with their
families, not knowing where they would find a refuge, and obeying
only the impulse to get away from a place apparently doomed, other
thousands remained, determined to protect their hearths and homes
and to preserve their fair metropolis from destruction. Terrible
as was the mob, and tenfold more terrible as it would have been if
it had used its strength in an organized effort and with definite
purpose, forces were now awakening and concentrating against it
which would eventually destroy every vestige of lawlessness. With
the fight on Broadway, during Monday evening, the supreme crisis
had passed. After that the mob fought desperate but losing battles.
Acton, with Napoleonic nerve and skill, had time to plan and
organize. General Brown with his brave troops reached him on Monday
night, and thereafter the two men, providentially brought and kept
together, met and overcame, in cordial co-operation, every danger
as it arose. Their names should never be forgotten by the citizens
of New York. Acton, as chief of police, was soon feared more than
any other man in the city, and he began to receive anonymous letters
assuring him that he had "but one more day to live." He tossed
them contemptuously aside, and turned to the telegrams imploring
assistance. In every blow struck his iron will and heavy hand were
felt. For a hundred hours, through the storm, he kept his hand on
the helm and never closed his eyes. He inspired confidence in the
men who obeyed him, and the humblest of them became heroes.
The city was smitten with an awful paralysis. Stages and street
cars had very generally ceased running; shops were closed; Broadway
and other thoroughfares and centres usually so crowded were at times
almost deserted; now and then a hack would whirl by with occupants
that could not be classified. They might be leaders of the mob,
detectives, or citizens in disguise bent on public or private
business. On one occasion a millionnaire whose name is known and
honored throughout the land, dressed in the mean habiliments of a
laborer, drove a wagon up Broadway in which was concealed a load
of arms and ammunition. In hundreds of homes fathers and sons kept
watch with rifles and revolvers, while city and State authorities
It was a time of strange and infinite vicissitude, yet apparently
the mob steadily attained vaster and more terrible proportions,
and everywhere lawlessness was on the increase, especially in the
upper portions of the city.
Mr. Vosburgh, with stern and clouded brow, obtained information from
all available sources, and flashed the vital points to Washington.
He did not leave Marian alone very long, and as the day advanced
kept one of his agents in the house during his absences. He failed
to meet Merwyn at headquarters, but learned of the young man's
brave action from one of his wounded comrades.
When Mr. Vosburgh told Marian of the risks which her new friend was
incurring, and the nature of the fighting in which he was engaged,
she grew so pale and agitated that he saw that she was becoming
conscious of herself, of the new and controlling element entering
into her life.
This self-knowledge was made tenfold clearer by a brief visit from
"Oh! how dared you come?" cried Marian.
"The strates are safe enough for the loikes o' me, so oi kape out
o' the crowds," was the reply, "but they're no place fer ye, Miss
Marian. Me brogue is a password iverywhere, an' even the crowds is
civil and dacent enough onless something wakes the divil in 'em;"
and then followed a vivid account of her experiences and of the
timely help Merwyn had given her.
"The docthers think me Barney'll live, but oi thank Misther Merwyn
that took him out o' the very claws uv the bloody divils, and not
their bat's eyes. Faix, but he tops all yez frin's, Miss Marian, tho'
ye're so could to 'im. All the spalpanes in the strates couldn't
make 'im wink, yet while I was a-wailin' over Barney he was as
tender-feelin' as a baby."
The girl's heart fluttered strangely at the words of her former
maid, but she tried to disguise her emotion. When again left alone
she strained her ears for every sound from the city, and was untiring
in her watch. From noon till evening she kept a dainty lunch ready
for Merwyn, but he did not come.
After the young man's return from his second fight he was given some
rest. In the afternoon, he, with others, was sent on duty to the
west side, the force being carried thither in stages which Acton
had impressed into the service. One driver refused to stir, saying,
insolently, that he had "not been hired to carry policemen."
"Lock that man in cell No. 4," was Acton's answer, while, in the
same breath, he ordered a policeman to drive.
That was the superintendent's style of arguing and despatching
Merwyn again saw plenty of service, for the spirit of pandemonium
was present in the west side. Towards evening, however, the rioters
ceased their aimless and capricious violence, and adopted in their
madness the dangerous method of Parisian mobs. They began throwing
up a series of barricades in Eighth Avenue. Vehicles of all
kinds within reach, telegraph poles, boxes,--anything that would
obstruct,--were wired together. Barricades were also erected on
cross-streets, to prevent flank movements. Captain Walling, of the
police, who was on duty in the precinct, appreciated the importance
of abolishing this feature from street fighting as speedily
as possible, and telegraphed to headquarters for a co-operating
military force. He also sent to General Sanford, at the arsenal,
for troops. They were promised, but never sent. General Brown,
fortunately, was a man of a very different stamp from Sanford, and
he promptly sent a body of regulars.
Captain Slott took command of the police detailed to co-operate
with the soldiers, and, with their officers, waited impatiently
and vainly for the company promised by Sanford. Meanwhile the mob
was strengthening its defences with breathless energy, and the sun
was sinking in the west. As the difficult and dangerous work to be
done required daylight it was at last resolved to wait no longer.
As the assailants drew near the barricade, they received a volley,
accompanied by stones and other missiles. The police fell back a
little to the left, and the troops, advancing, returned the fire.
But the rioters did not yield, and for a time the crash of musketry
resounded through the avenue, giving the impression of a regular
pitched battle. The accurate aim of the soldiers, however, at last
decided the contest, and the rioters fled to the second barricade,
followed by the troops, while the police tore away the captured
Obtaining a musket and cartridges from a wounded soldier, Merwyn,
by explaining that he was a good marksman, obtained the privilege
of fighting on the left flank of the military.
The mob could not endure the steady, well-directed fire of the
regulars, and one barricade after another was carried, until the
rioters were left uncovered when they fled, shrieking, yelling,
cursing in their impotent rage,--the police with their clubs and
the soldiers with their rifles following and punishing them until
the streets were clear.
Merwyn, having been on duty all day, obtained a leave of absence till
the following morning, and, availing himself of his old device to
save time and strength, went to a livery stable near the station-house
and obtained a hack by payment of double the usual fare. Mounting
the box with the driver, and avoiding crowds, he was borne rapidly
towards Mr. Vosburgh's residence. He was not only terribly exhausted,
but also consumed with anxiety as to the safety of the girl who
had never been absent long from his thoughts, even in moments of
the fiercest conflict.
ONE FACING HUNDREDS.
THE evening was growing dusky when Merwyn dismissed his carriage
and hastened to Mr. Vosburgh's residence. Marian and her father
had waited for him until their faces were clouded with anxiety by
reason of his long delay. The young girl's attempt to dine with
her father was but a formal pretence.
At last she exclaimed, "Something must have happened to Mr. Merwyn!"
"Do not entertain gloomy thoughts, my dear. A hundred things besides
an injury might have detained him. Keep a good dinner ready, and
I think he'll do justice to it before the evening is over."
Even then the German servant announced his presence at the basement
door, which, in view of the disguises worn, was still used as the
place of ingress and egress.
Mr. Vosburgh hastened to welcome him, while Marian bustled around to
complete her preparations. When he entered the dining-room he did
indeed appear weary and haggard, a fair counterpart of the rioters
whom he had been fighting.
"Only necessity, Miss Vosburgh, compels me to present myself in this
scarecrow aspect," he said. "I've had no time or chance for anything
better. I can soon report to your father all that is essential,
and then can go home and return later."
"I shall be much hurt if you do so," said Marian, reproachfully.
"I kept a lunch prepared for you during the afternoon, and now have
a warm dinner all ready. It will be very ungracious in you to go
away and leave it."
"But I look like a coal-heaver."
"Oh, I've seen well-dressed men before. They are no novelty; but a
man direct from a field of battle is quite interesting. Will you
please take this chair? You are not in the least like my other
friends. They obey me without questionings."
"You must remember," he replied, "that the relation is to me as new
and strange as it is welcome. I shall need a great deal of discipline."
"When you learn what a martinet I can be you may repent, like many
another who has obtained his wish. Here we shall reverse matters.
Everything is topsy-turvy now, you know, so take this coffee at
the beginning of your dinner."
"I admit that your orders differ widely from those of police captains."
Then he added, with quiet significance, "No; I shall not repent."
"Mr. Merwyn, will you take an older man's advice?"
"Certainly. Indeed, I am under your orders, also, for the night."
"I'm glad to hear it, for it will be a night of deep anxiety to
me. Make a very light dinner, and take more refreshment later. You
are too much exhausted to dine now. You need not tell me of your
morning adventures. I learned about those at headquarters."
"I have heard about them too," Marian added, with a look that
warmed the young fellow's soul. "I have also had a visit from Mrs.
Ghegan, and her story was not so brief as yours."
"From what section have you just come?" Mr. Vosburgh asked.
Merwyn gave a brief description of the condition of affairs on the
west side, ending with an account of the fight at the barricades.
"In one respect you are like my other friends, only more so,"
Marian said. "You are inclined to give me Hamlet with Hamlet left
out. What part did you take at the barricades?"
He told her in a matter-of-fact way.
"Ah, yes, I understand. I am learning to read between the lines of
"Well, Heaven be thanked," ejaculated Mr. Vosburgh, "that you demolished
the barricades! If the rioters adopt that mode of fighting us, we
shall have far greater difficulty in coping with them."
At last Mr. Vosburgh said, "Will you please come with me to my
library for a few minutes?"
On reaching the apartment he closed the door, and continued, gravely:
"Mr. Merwyn, I am in sore straits. You have offered to aid me. I
will tell you my situation, and then you must do as you think best.
I know that you have done all a man's duty to-day and have earned
the right to complete rest. You will also naturally wish to look
after your own home. Nevertheless my need and your own words lead
me to suggest that you stay here to-night, or at least through
the greater portion of it. I fear that I have been recognized and
followed,--that I have enemies on my track. I suspect the man whom
I discharged from the care of my office. Yet I must go out, for I
have important despatches to send, and--what is of more consequence--I
must make some careful observations. The mob seems to be a mere
lawless, floundering monster, bent chiefly on plunder; but the
danger is that leaders are organizing its strength as a part of the
rebellion. You can understand that, while I look upon the outbreak
with the solicitude of a citizen whose dearest interests are at
stake, I also, from habit of mind and duty, must study it as a part
of the great campaign of the year. If there are organizers at work
there will be signals to-night, and I can see them from a tall
neighboring church-spire. Yet how can I leave my child alone? How--"
"Mr. Vosburgh," cried Merwyn, "what honor or privilege could I ask
greater than that of being your daughter's protector during your
absence? I understand you perfectly. You feel that you must do your
duty at any cost to yourself. After what you have said, nothing
could induce me to go away. Indeed, I would stand guard without
your door, were there no place for me within."
"There, I won't thank you in words," said the elder man, wringing
Merwyn's hand. "Will you do as I wish?"
"Then lie down on the sofa in the front parlor and sleep while you
can. The least disturbance in the street would waken you there.
Marian will watch from an upper window and give you warning if
anything occurs. It is possible that I may be set upon when returning
home, but I think not, for I shall enter the house from the rear;"
and he told the young man of the means of exit which he had secured
in case the house was attacked. "Rather than permit my child to
take any risks," concluded the father, solemnly, "fly with her and
the woman who will be her companion till I return. Beyond the fact
of general danger to all homes, she does not suspect anything, nor
shall I increase her anxieties by telling her of my fears. She will
be vigilant on general principles. Have you arms?"
"I have fired most of my cartridges to-day."
"Well here is a revolver and a repeating rifle that you can depend
upon. Do you understand the latter weapon?"
"Yes, I have one like it."
"I will now tell Marian of my plans, so far as it is wise for her
to know them, and then, God help and protect us all! Come, I wish
you to lie down at once, for every moment of rest may be needed."
When they descended, Mr. Vosburgh said to his daughter, laughingly,
"Mr. Merwyn is under orders, and can have nothing more to say to
The young fellow, in like vein, brought the rifle to his shoulder,
presented arms to her, wheeled, and marched to his station in the
darkened front parlor. Before lying down, however, he opened one
blind for an outlook.
"Do you fear any special danger to-night, papa?" Marian asked,
"I have been expecting special dangers from the first," replied her
father, gently. "While I must do my duty I shall also take such
precautions as I can. Merwyn will be your protector during my
absence. Now take your station at your upper window and do your
part." He explained briefly what he expected of her. "In case of
an attack," he concluded, almost sternly, "you must fly before it
is too late. I shall now go and prepare Mr. Erkmann for the possible
emergency, and then go out through the basement door as usual,
after giving our loyal German her directions."
A few moments later he had departed, all were at their posts, and
the house was quiet.
Merwyn felt the necessity of rest, for every bone in his body ached
from fatigue; but he did not dream of the possibility of sleep.
His heart was swelling with pride and joy that he had become, not
only the friend of the girl he loved, but also her trusted protector.
But at last Nature claimed her dues, and he succumbed and slept.
Mr. Vosburgh, unmolested, climbed to his lofty height of observation.
The great city lay beneath him with its myriad lights, but on Third
Avenue, from 40th Street northward for a mile, there was a hiatus
of darkness. There the mob had begun, and there still dwelt its
evil spirit uncurbed. The rioters in that district had cut off
the supply of gas, feeling, as did the French revolutionists, that
"Light was not in order."
Mr. Vosburgh watched that long stretch of gloom with the greatest
anxiety. Suddenly from its mystery a rocket flamed into the sky.
Three minutes elapsed and another threw far and wide its ominous
light. Again there was an interval of three minutes, when a third
rocket confirmed the watcher's fears that these were signals. Four
minutes passed, and then, from the vicinity of Union Square, what
appeared to be a great globe of fire rose to an immense height.
A few seconds later there was an answering rocket far off in the
eastern districts of Brooklyn.
These were indeed portents in the sky, and Mr. Vosburgh was perplexed
as to their significance. Were they orders or at least invitations,
for a general uprising against all authority? Was the rebellion
against the government about to become general in the great centres
of population? With the gloomiest of forebodings he watched for
two hours longer, but only heard the hoarse murmur of the unquiet
city, which occasionally, off to the west, became so loud as to
suggest the continuance of the strife of the day. At last he went
to the nearest available point and sent his despatches, then stole
by a circuitous route to the dwelling of Mr. Erkmann, who was
watching for him.
Marian's vigilance was sleepless. While she had been burdened
throughout the day with the deepest anxieties, she had been engaged
in no exhausting efforts, and the novelty of her present position
and her new emotions banished the possibility of drowsiness. She
felt as if she had lived years during the past two days. The city
was full of dangers nameless and horrible, yet she was conscious
of an exaltation of spirit and of a happiness such as she had never
The man whom she had despised as a coward was her protector, and
she wondered at her sense of security. She almost longed for an
opportunity to prove that her courage could now be equal to his,
and her eyes flashed in the darkness as they glanced up and down
the dusky street; again they became gentle in her commiseration
of the weary man in the room below, and gratefully she thanked God
that he had been spared through the awful perils of the day.
Suddenly her attention was caught by the distant tramp of many
feet. She threw open a blind and listened with a beating heart.
Yes, a mob was coming, nearer, nearer; they are at the corner. With
a sudden outburst of discordant cries they are turning into this
A moment later her hand was upon Merwyn's shoulder. "Wake, wake,"
she cried; "the mob is coming--is here."
He was on his feet instantly with rifle in hand. Through the window
he saw the dusky forms gathering about the door. The German woman
stood behind Marian, crying and wringing her hands.
"Miss Vosburgh, you and the woman do as I bid," Merwyn said, sternly.
"Go to the rear of the hall, open the door, and if I say, 'Fly,'
or if I fall, escape for your lives."
"But what will you--"
"Obey!" he cried, with a stamp of his foot.
They were already in the hall, and did as directed.
Imagine Marian's wonder as she saw him throw open the front door,
step without, and fire instantly. Then, dropping his rifle on his
arm, he began to use his revolver. She rushed to his side and saw
the mob, at least three hundred strong, scattering as if swept away
by a whirlwind.
Merwyn's plan of operations had been bold, but it proved the best
one. In the streets he had learned the effect of fearless, decisive
action, and he had calculated correctly on the panic which so often
seized the undisciplined hordes. They probably believed that his
boldness was due to the fact that he had plenty of aid at hand.
So long as there was a man within range he continued to fire, then
became aware of Marian's presence.
"O Miss Vosburgh," he said, earnestly, "you should not look on
sights like these;" for a leader of the mob lay motionless on the
pavement beneath them.
He took her hand, which trembled, led her within, and refastened
the door. Her emotion was so strong that she dared not speak.
"Why did you take such a risk?" he asked, gravely. "What would
your father have said to me if one of those wretches had fired and
"I--I only realized one thing--that you were facing hundreds all
alone," she faltered.
"Why, Miss Marian, I was only doing my duty, and I took the safest
way to perform it. I had learned from experience that the bluff game
is generally the best. No doubt I gave those fellows the impression
that there were a dozen armed men in the house."
But her emotion was too strong for control, and she sobbed: "It was
the bravest thing I ever heard of. Oh! I have done you SUCH wrong!
Forgive me. I--I--can't--" and she hastened up the dusky stairway,
followed by her servant, who was profuse in German interjections.
"I am repaid a thousand-fold," was Merwyn's quiet comment. "My oath
cannot blight my life now."
Sleep had been most effectually banished from his eyes, and as he
stood in the unlighted apartment, motionless and silent, looking
out upon the dusky street, but a few moments passed before a man
and a woman approached cautiously, lifted the slain rioter, and
bore him away.
In less than half an hour Mr. Vosburgh entered his house from the
rear so silently that he was almost beside Merwyn before his approach
"What, Merwyn!" he exclaimed, with a little chiding in his tone;
"is this the way you rest? You certainly haven't stood here, 'like
Patience on a monument,' since I left?"
"No, indeed. You are indebted to Miss Vosburgh that you have a home
to come to, for I slept so soundly that the house might have been
carried off bodily. The mob has been here."
"O papa!" cried Marian, clasping her arms about his neck, "thank
God you are back safe! Oh, it was all so sudden and terrible!"
"But how, how, Merwyn? What has happened?"
"Well, sir, Miss Vosburgh was a better sentinel than I, and heard
the first approach of the ruffians. I was sleeping like old Rip
himself. She wakened me. A shot or two appeared to create a panic,
and they disappeared like a dream, as suddenly as they had come."
"Just listen to him, papa!" cried the girl, now reassured by her
father's presence, and recovering from her nervous shock. "Why
shouldn't he sleep after such a day as he has seen? It was his duty
to sleep, wasn't it? The idea of two sentinels in a small garrison
keeping awake, watching the same points!"
"I'm very glad you obtained some sleep, Merwyn, and surely you had
earned it; but as yet I have a very vague impression of this mob
and of the fight. I looked down the street but a few moments ago,
and it seemed deserted. It is quiet now. Have you not both slept
"No, papa," said the girl, shudderingly; "there's a dead man at
the foot of our steps even now."
"You are mistaken, Miss Vosburgh. As usual, his friends lost no
time in carrying him off."
"Well, well," cried Mr. Vosburgh, "this is a longer story than I can
listen to without something to sustain the inner man. "Riten,"--to
the servant,--"some fresh coffee please. Now for the lighted
dining-room,--that's hidden from the street,--where we can look
into each other's faces. So much has happened the last two days
that here in the dark I begin to feel as if it all were a nightmare.
Ah! how cosey and home-like this room seems after prowling in the
dangerous streets with my hand on the butt of a revolver! Come now,
Marian, sit down quietly and tell the whole story. I can't trust
Merwyn at all when he is the hero of the tale."
"You may well say that. I hope, sir," with a look of mock severity
at the young fellow, "that your other reports to papa are more
accurate than the one I have heard. Can you believe it, papa? he
actually threw open the front door and faced the entire mob alone."
"I beg your pardon, Miss Vosburgh, as I emptied my revolver and
looked around, a lady stood beside me. I've seen men do heroic
things to-day, but nothing braver than that."
"But I didn't think!" cried the girl; "I didn't realize--" and then
she paused, while her face crimsoned. Her heart had since told her
why she had stepped to his side.
"But you would have thought twice, yes, a hundred times," said
Merwyn, laughing, "if you hadn't been a soldier. Jove! how Strahan
will stare when he hears of it!"
"Please, never tell him," exclaimed the girl.
Her father now stood encircling her with his arm, and looking
fondly down upon her. "Well, thank God we're all safe yet! and,
threatening as is the aspect of affairs, I believe we shall see
happy days of peace and security before very long."
"I am so glad that mamma is not in the city!" said Marian, earnestly.
"Oh that you were with her, my child!"
"I'm better contented where I am," said the girl, with a decided
"Yes, but great God! think of what might have happened if Merwyn
had not been here,--what might still have happened had he not had
the nerve to take, probably, the only course which could have saved
you! There, there, I can't think of it, or I shall be utterly
"Don't think of it, papa. See, I'm over the shock of it already.
Now don't you be hysterical as I was yesterday."
He made a great effort to rally, but it was evident that the
strong man was deeply agitated. They all, however, soon regained
self-control and composure, and spent a genial half-hour together,
Merwyn often going to the parlor, that he might scan the street.
After a brief discussion of plans for the morrow they separated
for the night, Merwyn resuming his bivouac in the parlor. After
listening for a time he was satisfied that even mobs must rest,
and, as the soldiers slept on their arms, he slumbered, his rifle
When Marian bade her father good-night he took her face in his
hands and gazed earnestly down upon it. The girl understood his
expression, and the color came into her fair countenance like a
"Do you remember, darling, my words when I said, 'I do not know
how much it might cost you in the end to dismiss Mr. Merwyn finally'?"
"Are you not learning how much it might have cost you?"
"Yes, papa," with drooping eyes.
He kissed her, and nothing more was said.
MERWYN awoke early, and, as soon as he heard the German servant
coming down-stairs, wrote a line to Mr. Vosburgh saying that he
would call on his way to headquarters, and then hastened through the
almost deserted streets to his own home. To his great satisfaction
he found everything unchanged there. After luxuriating in a bath
and a bountiful breakfast he again instructed his man to be on the
watch, and to keep up a fire throughout the coming night, so that
a hot meal might be had speedily at any time.
More than once the thought had crossed his mind: "Unless we make
greater headway with the riot, that attack on Mr. Vosburgh's house
will be repeated. Vengeance alone would now prompt the act, and
besides he is undoubtedly a marked man. There's no telling what may
happen. Our best course is to fight, fight, knock the wretches on
the head. With the quelling of the mob comes safety;" and, remembering
the danger that threatened Marian, he was in a savage mood.
On this occasion, he went directly to Mr. Vosburgh's residence,
resolving to take no risks out of the line of duty. His first thought
now was the securing of Marian's safety. He had learned that there
was no longer any special need for personal effort on his part to
gain information, since the police authorities had wires stretching
to almost every part of the city. An account of the risks taken
to keep up this telegraphic communication would make a strange,
thrilling chapter in itself. Moreover, police detectives were busy
everywhere, and Mr. Vosburgh at headquarters and with the aid of his
own agents could now obtain all the knowledge essential. Therefore
the young fellow's plan was simple, and he indicated his course at
once after a cordial greeting from Mr. Vosburgh and Marian.
"Hard fighting appears to me to be the way to safety," said he. "I
can scarcely believe that the rioters will endure more than another
day of such punishment as they received yesterday. Indeed, I should
not be surprised if to-day was comparatively quiet."
"I agree with you," said Mr. Vosburgh, "unless the signals I saw
last night indicate a more general uprising than has yet taken
place. The best elements of the city are arming and organizing.
There is a deep and terrible anger rising against the mob and all
its abettors and sympathizers."
"I know it," cried Merwyn; "I feel it myself. When I think of the
danger which threatened your home and especially Miss Vosburgh, I
feel an almost ungovernable desire to be at the wretches."
"But that means greater peril for you," faltered the young girl.
"No, it means the shortest road to safety for us all. A mob is like
fire: it must be stamped out of existence as soon as possible."
"I think Merwyn is right," resumed Mr. Vosburgh. "Another day
of successful fighting will carry us to safety, for the general
government is moving rapidly in our behalf, and our militia regiments
are on their way home. I'll be ready to go to headquarters with
you in a minute."
"Oh, please do not be rash to-day. If you had fallen yesterday
think what might have happened," said Marian.
"Every blow I strike to-day, Miss Vosburgh, will be nerved by the
thought that you have one enemy, one danger, the less; and I shall
esteem it the greatest of privileges if I can remain here to-night
again as one of your protectors."
"I cannot tell you what a sense of security your presence gives
me," she replied. "You seem to know just what to do and how to do
"Well," he answered, with a grim laugh, "one learns fast in these
times. A very stern necessity is the mother of invention."
"Yes," sighed the girl, "one learns fast. Now that I have seen war,
it is no longer a glorious thing, but full of unspeakable horrors."
"This is not war," said Merwyn, a little bitterly. "I pity, while
I detest, the poor wretches we knock on the head. Your friends,
who have fought the elite of the South will raise their eyebrows
if they hear us call this war."
"I have but one friend who has faced a mob alone," she replied,
with a swift, shy glance.
"A friend whom that privilege made the most fortunate of men," he
replied. "Had the rioters been Southern soldiers, they would have
shot me instantly, instead of running away."
"All my friends soon learn that I am stubborn in my opinions," was
her laughing reply, as her father joined them.
Mr. Erkmann on the next street north was a sturdy, loyal man, and
he permitted Mr. Vosburgh and Merwyn to pass out through his house,
so that to any one who was watching the impression would be given
that at least two men were in the house. Burdened with a sense of
danger, Mr. Vosburgh had resolved on brief absences, believing that
at headquarters and through his agents he could learn the general
drift of events.
Broadway wore the aspect of an early Sunday morning in quiet times.
Pedestrians were few, and the stages had ceased running. The iron
shutters of the great Fifth Avenue and other hotels were securely
fastened. No street cars jingled along the side avenues; shops
were closed; and the paralysis of business was almost complete in
its greatest centres. At police headquarters, however, the most
intense activity prevailed. Here were gathered the greater part
of the police force and of the military co-operating with it The
neighboring African church was turned into a barrack. Acton occupied
other buildings, with or without the consent of the owners.
The top floor of the police building was thronged with colored
refugees, thankful indeed to have found a place of safety, but many
were consumed with anxiety on account of absent ones.
The sanguine hopes for a more quiet day were not fulfilled, but the
severest fighting was done by the military, and cavalry now began
to take part in the conflict. On the west side, Seventh Avenue was
swept again and again with grape and canister before the mob gave
way. On the east side there were several battles, and in one of
them, fought just before night, the troops were compelled to retreat,
leaving some of their dead and wounded in the streets. General
Brown sent Captain Putnam with one hundred and fifty regulars
to the scene of disaster and continued violence, and a sanguinary
conflict ensued between ten and eleven o'clock at night. Putnam
swept the dimly lighted streets with his cannon, and when the
rioters fled into the houses he opened such a terrible fire upon
them as to subdue all resistance. The mob was at last learning that
the authorities would neither yield nor scruple to make use of any
means in the conflict.
In the great centres down town, things were comparatively quiet.
The New York Times took matters into its own hands. A glare of
light from the windows of its building was shed after night-fall
over Printing-House Square, and editors and reporters had their
rifles as readily within reach as their pens.
We shall not follow Merwyn's adventures, for that would involve
something like a repetition of scenes already described. As the
day was closing, however, he took part in an affair which explained
the mystery of Mammy Borden's disappearance.
During the first day of the riot the colored woman had seen enough
to realize her own danger and that of her son, and she was determined
to reach him and share his fate, whatever it might be. She had
no scruple in stealing away from Mr. Vosburgh's house, for by her
departure she removed a great peril from her employers and friends.
She was sufficiently composed, however, to put on a heavy veil and
gloves, and so reached her son in safety. Until the evening of the
third day of the riot, the dwelling in which they cowered escaped
the fury of the mob, although occupied by several colored families.
At last the hydra-headed monster fixed one of its baleful eyes
upon the spot. Just as the occupants of the house were beginning
to hope, the remorseless wretches came, and the spirit of Tophet
broke loose. The door was broken in with axes, and savage men streamed
into the dwelling. The poor victims tried to barricade themselves
in the basement, but their assailants cut the water-pipes and would
have drowned them. Driven out by this danger, the hunted creatures
sought to escape through the yard. As Zeb was lifting his mother
over the fence the rioters came upon her and dragged her back.
"Kill me, kill me," cried Zeb, "but spare my mother."
They seemed to take him at his word. Two of the fiends held his
arms, while another struck him senseless and apparently dead with
a crowbar. Then, not accepting this heroic self-sacrifice, they
began to beat the grief-frenzied mother. But retribution was at
hand. The cries of the victims and the absorption of the rioters
in their brutal work prevented them from hearing the swift, heavy
tread of the police. A moment later Merwyn and others rushed through
the hallway, and the ruffians received blows similar to the one
which had apparently bereft poor Zeb of life. The rioters were
either dispersed or left where they fell, a wagon was impressed,
and Zeb and his mother were brought to headquarters. Merwyn had soon
recognized Mrs. Borden, but she could not be comforted. Obtaining
leave of absence, the young man waited until the evening grew
dusky; then securing a hack from a stable near headquarters, the
proprietor of which was disposed to loyalty by reason of his numerous
blue-coated neighbors, he took the poor woman and the scarcely
breathing man to a hospital, and left money for their needs. The
curtains of the carriage had been closely drawn; but if the crowds
through which they sometimes passed had guessed its occupants,
they would have instantly met a tragic fate, while Merwyn's and
the driver's chances would have been scarcely better.
MR. VOSBURGH and his daughter had passed a very anxious day, the
former going out but seldom. The information obtained from the
city had not been reassuring, for while the authorities had under
their direction larger bodies of men, and lawlessness was not
so general, the mob was still unquelled and fought with greater
desperation in the disaffected centres. In the after-part of the day
Mr. Vosburgh received the cheering intelligence that the Seventh
Regiment would arrive that night, and that other militia organizations
were on their way home. Therefore he believed that if they escaped
injury until the following morning all cause for deep anxiety would
pass away. As the hours elapsed and no further demonstration was
made against his home, his hopes grew apace, and now, as he and
his daughter waited for Merwyn before dining, he said, "I fancy
that the reception given to the mob last night has curbed their
disposition to molest us."
"O papa, what keeps Mr. Merwyn?"
"Well, my dear, I know he was safe at noon."
"Oh, oh, I do hope that this will be the last day of this fearful
suspense! Isn't it wonderful what Mr. Merwyn has done in the past
"Not so wonderful as it seems. Periods like these always develop
master-spirits, or rather they give such spirits scope. How little
we knew of Acton before this week! yet at the beginning he seized
the mob by the throat and has not once relaxed his grasp. He has
been the one sleepless man in the city, and how he endures the
strain is almost beyond mortal comprehension. The man and the hour
came together. The same is true of Merwyn in his sphere. He had been
preparing for this, hoping that it would give him an opportunity
to right himself. Fearless as the best of your friends, he combines
with courage the singularly cool, resolute nature inherited from
his father. He is not in the least ambitious for distinction, but
is only bent on carrying out his own aims and purposes."
"And what are they, papa?"
"Sly fox! as if you did not know. Who first came to your protection?"
"And to think how I treated him!"
"Quite naturally, under the circumstances. The mystery of his former
restraint is still unexplained, but I now think it due to family
reasons. Yet why he should be so reluctant to speak of them is still
another mystery. He has no sympathy with the South or his mother's
views, yet why should he not say, frankly, 'I cannot fight against
my mother's people'? When we think, however, that the sons of the
same mother are often arrayed against each other in this war, such
a reason as I have suggested appears entirely inadequate. All his
interests are at the North, and he is thoroughly loyal; but when I
intimated, last evening, that he might wish to spend the night in
his own home to insure its protection, it seemed less than nothing
to him compared with your safety. He has long had this powerful
motive to win your regard, and yet there has been some restraint
"But you trust him now, papa?"
Thus they talked until the clock struck eight, and Marian, growing
pallid with anxiety and fear, went to the darkened parlor window
to watch for Merwyn, then returned and looked at her father with
something like dismay on her face.
Before he could speak, she exclaimed, "Ah! there is his ring;" and
she rushed toward the door, paused, came back, and said, blushingly,
"Papa, you had better admit him."
Mr. Vosburgh smilingly complied.
The young fellow appeared in almost as bad a plight as when he
had come in on Monday night and gone away with bitter words on his
lips. He was gaunt from fatigue and long mental strain. His first
words were: "Thank God you we still all safe! I had hoped to be
here long before this, but so much has happened!"
"What!" exclained Marian, "anything worse than took place yesterday?"
"No, and yes." Then, with an appealing look; "Miss Marian, a cup
of your good coffee. I feel as if a rioter could knock me down with
She ran to the kitchen herself to see that it was of the best possible
quality, and Merwyn, sinking into a chair, looked gloomily at his
host and said: "We have made little if any progress. The mob grows
more reckless and devilish."
"My dear fellow," cried Mr. Vosburgh, "the Seventh Regiment will
be here to-night, and others are on the way;" and he told of the
reassuring tidings he had received.
"Thank Heaven for your news! I have been growing despondent during
the last few hours."
"Take this and cheer up," cried Marian. "The idea of your being
despondent! You are only tired to death, and will have a larger
appetite for fighting to-morrow, I fear, than ever."
"No; I witnessed a scene this evening that made me sick of it all.
Of course I shall do my duty to the end, but I wish that others
could finish it up. More than ever I envy your friends who can fight
soldiers;" and then he told them briefly of the scene witnessed in
the rescue of Mammy Borden and her son.
"Oh, horrible! horrible!" exclaimed the girl. "Where are they now?"
"I took them from headquarters to a hospital. They both need the
best surgical attention, though poor Zeb, I fear, is past help."
"Merwyn," said Mr. Vosburgh, gravely, "you incurred a fearful risk
in taking those people through the streets."
"I suppose so," replied the young fellow, quietly; "but in a sense
they were a part of your household, and the poor creatures were in
such a desperate plight that--"
"Mr. Merwyn," cried Marian, a warm flush mantling her face, "you
are a true knight. You have perilled your life for the poor and
He looked at her intently a moment, and then said, quietly, "I
would peril it again a thousand times for such words from YOU."
To hide a sudden confusion she exclaimed: "Great Heavens! what
differences there are in men! Those who would torture and kill
these inoffensive people have human forms."
"Men are much what women make them; and it would almost seem that
women are the chief inspiration of this mob. The draft may have
been its inciting cause, but it has degenerated into an insatiable
thirst for violence, blood, and plunder. I saw an Irishwoman to-day
who fought like a wild-cat before she would give up her stolen
The German servant Riten now began to place dinner on the table,
Mr. Vosburgh remarking, "We had determined to wait for you on this
"What am I thinking of?" cried Merwyn. "If this thing goes on I
shall become uncivilized. Mr. Vosburgh, do take me somewhere that
I may bathe my hands and face, and please let me exchange this horrid
blouse, redolent of the riot, for almost any kind of garment. I
could not sit at the table with Miss Vosburgh in my present guise."
"Yes, papa, give him your white silk waistcoat and dress-coat,"
added Marian, laughing.
"Come with me," said Mr. Vosburgh, "and I'll find you an outfit
for the sake of your own comfort."
"I meant to trespass on your kindness when I first came in, but mind
and body seemed almost paralyzed. I feel better already, however.
While we are absent may I ask if you have your weapons ready?"
"Yes, I have a revolver on my person, and my rifle is in the
A few moments later the gentlemen descended, Merwyn in a sack-coat
that hung rather loosely on his person. Before sitting down he
scanned the street, which was quiet.
"My former advice, Merwyn," said his host; "you must make a light
meal and wait until you are more rested."
"O papa, what counsel to give a guest!"
"Counsel easily followed," said Merwyn. "I crave little else than
coffee. Indeed, your kindness, Miss Vosburgh, has so heartened me,
that I am rallying fast."
"Since everything is to be in such great moderation, perhaps I have
been too prodigal of that," was the arch reply.
"I shall be grateful for much or little."
"Oh, no, don't put anything on the basis of gratitude. I have too
much of that to be chary of it."
"A happy state of affairs," said Merwyn, "since what you regard
as services on my part are priceless favors to me. I can scarcely
realize it, and have thought of it all day, that I only, of all
your friends, can be with you now. Strahan will be green with envy,
and so I suppose will the others."
"I do not think any the less of them because it is impossible for
them to be here," said the young girl, blushing.
"Of course not. It's only my immense good fortune. They would give
their right eyes to stand in my shoes."
"I hope I may soon hear that they are all recovering. I fear that
Mr. Lane's and Mr. Strahan's wounds are serious; and, although Mr.
Blauvelt made light of his hurt, he may find that it is no trifle."
"It would seem that I am doomed to have no honorable scars."
"Through no fault of yours, Mr. Merwyn. I've thought so much of
poor mamma to-day! She must be wild with anxiety about us."
"I think not," said Mr. Vosburgh. "I telegraphed to her yesterday
and to-day. I admit they were rather misleading messages."
From time to time Mr. Vosburgh went to the outlook on the street,
but all remained apparently quiet in their vicinity. Yet an hour of
fearful peril was drawing near. A spirit of vengeance, and a desire
to get rid of a most dangerous enemy, prompted another attack on
Mr. Vosburgh's home that night; and, taught by former experience,
the assailants had determined to approach quietly and fight till
they should accomplish their purpose. They meant to strike suddenly,
swiftly, and remorselessly.
The little group in the dining-room, however, grew confident with
every moment of immunity; yet they could not wholly banish their
fears, and Mr. Vosburgh explained to Merwyn how he had put bars on
the outside of the doors opening into the back yard, a bolt also
on the door leading down-stairs to the basement.
But they dined very leisurely, undisturbed; then at Marian's request
the gentlemen lighted their cigars. Mr. Vosburgh strolled away to
see that all was quiet and secure.
"I shouldn't have believed that I could rally so greatly in so
short a time," said Merwyn, leaning back luxuriously in his chair.
"Last night I was overcome with drowsiness soon after I lay down.
I now feel as if I should never want to sleep again. It will be my
turn to watch to-night, and you must sleep."
"Yes, when I feel like it," replied Marian.
"I think you bear the strain of anxiety wonderfully."
"I am trying to retrieve myself."
"You have retrieved yourself, Miss Vosburgh. You have become a
genuine soldier. It didn't take long to make a veteran of you."
"So much for a good example, you see."
"Oh, well, it's easy enough for a man to face danger. Think how
many thousands do it as a matter of course."
"And must women be timid as a matter of course?"
"Women do not often inspire men as you do, Miss Marian. I know I am
different from what I was, and I think I always shall be different."
"I didn't treat you fairly, Mr. Merwyn, and I've grieved over the
past more than I can tell you."
"And you won't mistrust me again?"
"You make me very happy, and you will never know how unhappy I have
been. Even before I left the country, last autumn, I envied the
drummer-boys of Strahan's regiment. I don't wish to take advantage
of your present feeling, or have you forget that I am still under
a miserable restraint which I can't explain. I must probably resume
my old inactive life, while your other friends win fame and rank
in serving their country. Of course I shall give money, but bah!
what's that to a girl like you? When all this hurly-burly in the
streets is over, when conventional life begins again, and I seem
a part of it, will you still regard me as a friend?"
His distrust touched her deeply, when she was giving him her
heart's best love, and her strong feeling caused her to falter as
she said, "Do you think I can grow cold towards the man who risked
his life for me?"
"That is exaggerated gratitude. Any decent man would risk his life
for you. Why, you were as brave as I. I often ask myself, can you
be a friend for my own sake, because of some inherent congeniality?
You have done more for your other friends than they for you, and
yet they are very dear to you, because you esteem them as men. I
covet a like personal regard, and I hope you will teach me to win
"You have won it,--that is--"
"That is--? There is a mental reservation, or you are too truthful
for undoubted assurance when shown that gratitude has no place in
She averted her face from his searching eyes, and was deeply
"I feared it would be so," he said, sadly. "But I do not blame
you. On the contrary I honor your sincerity. Very well, I shall
be heartily glad of any regard that you can give me, and shall try
to be worthy of it."
"Mr. Merwyn," she said, impetuously, "no friend of mine receives a
stronger, better, or more sincere regard than I give you for your
own sake. There now, trust me as I trust you;" and she gave him
He took it in his strong grasp, but she exclaimed, instantly: "You
are feverish. You are ill. I thought your eyes were unnaturally
"They should be so if it is in the power of happiness to kindle
"Come now," she cried, assuming a little brusqueness of manner which
became her well; "I've given you my word, and that's my bond. If
you indulge in any more doubts I'll find a way to punish you. I'll
take my 'affidavy' I'm just as good a friend to you as you are to
me. If you doubt me, I shall doubt you."
"I beg your pardon; no you won't, or cannot, rather. You know well
that I have my father's unchangeable tenacity. It's once and always
"You are speaking riddles," she faltered, averting her face.
"Not at all. I am glad indeed that you can give me simple friendship,
unforced, uncompelled by any other motive than that which actuates
you in regard to the others. But you know well--your most casual
glance would reveal it to you--that I, in whom you have inspired
some semblance of manhood, can never dream of any other woman. When
you see this truth, as you often will, you must not punish me for
it. You must not try to cure me by coldness or by any other of the
conventional remedies, for you cannot. When we meet, speak kindly,
look kindly; and should it ever be not best or right that we should
meet,--that is, often,--we shall not."
"You are scarcely speaking as a friend," she said, in a low voice.
"Will you punish me if I cannot help being far more?"
"No, since you cannot help it," she replied, with a shy laugh.
A new light, a new hope, began to dawn upon him, and he was about
to speak impetuously when Mr. Vosburgh appeared and said, "Merwyn,
I've been watching two men who passed and repassed the house, and
who seem to be reconnoitring."
As Merwyn and Marian accompanied him to the parlor they heard the
heavy booming of cannon off on the east side, and it was repeated
again and again.
"Those are ominous sounds at this time of night," said Mr. Vosburgh.
"That they don't come from the rioters is a comfort," Merwyn replied;
"but it proves what I said before,--they are becoming more bold
"It may also show that the authorities are more stern and relentless
in dealing with them."
At last the sounds of conflict died away, the street appeared quiet
and deserted, and they all returned to the dining-room.
The light enabled Merwyn to look eagerly and questioningly at
Marian. She smiled, flushed, and, quickly averting her eyes, began
to speak on various topics in a way that warned Merwyn to restrain
all further impatience; but she inspired so strong and delicious a
hope that he could scarcely control himself. He even fancied that
there was at times a caressing accent in her tone when she spoke
"Surely," he thought, "if what I said were repugnant, she would give
some hint of the fact; but how can it be possible that so soon--"
"Come, Marian, I think you may safely retire now," said her father;
"I hear Riten coming up."
Even as he spoke, a front parlor window was crashed in. Merwyn
and Mr. Vosburgh sprung into the hall, revolvers in hand; Riten
instinctively fled back towards the stairs leading to the basement,
in which she had extinguished the light, and Mr. Vosburgh told his
daughter to follow the servant.
But she stood still, as if paralyzed, and saw a man rushing upon
him with a long knife. Mr. Vosburgh fired, but, from agitation,
ineffectually. Merwyn at the same moment had fired on another man,
who fell. A fearful cry escaped from the girl's lips as she saw that
her father was apparently doomed. The gleaming knife was almost
above him. Then--how it happened she could never tell, so swift was
the movement--Merwyn stood before her father. The knife descended
upon his breast, yet at the same instant his pistol exploded against
the man's temple, and the miscreant dropped like a log. There were
sounds of other men clambering in at the window, and Mr. Vosburgh
snatched Merwyn back by main force, saying to Marian, "Quick! for
your life! down the stairs!"
The moment the door closed upon them all he slid the heavy bolt.
Riten stood sobbing at the foot of the stairs.
"Hush!" said Mr. Vosburgh, sternly. "Each one obey me. Out through
the area door instantly."
Across this he also let down a heavy bar, and, taking his daughter's
hand, he hurried her to the fence, removed the boards, and, when all
had passed through, replaced them. Mr. Erkmann, at his neighbor's
request, had left his rear basement door open, and was on the
watch. He appeared almost instantly, and counselled the fugitives
to remain with him.
"No," said Mr. Vosburgh; "we will bring no more peril than we must
on you. Let us out into the street at once, and then bar and bolt
"But where can you go at this time?"
"To my house," said Merwyn, firmly. "Please do as Mr. Vosburgh
asks. It will be safest for all."
"Well, since you will have it so."
"Hasten, hasten," Merwyn urged.
Mr. Erkmann unlatched the door and looked out. The street was quiet
and deserted, and the fugitives rushed away with whispered thanks.
"Marian, tie Riten's apron over your head, so as to partially
disguise your face," said her father.
Fortunately they met but few people, and no crowds whatever. As
they approached Merwyn's home his steps began to grow unsteady.
"Papa," said Marian, in agitated tones, "Mr. Merwyn is wounded; he
wants your support."
"Merciful Heaven, Merwyn! are you wounded?"
"Yes, hasten. I must reach home before giving out."
When they gained his door he had to be almost carried up the steps,
and Mr. Vosburgh rang the bell furiously.
Only a moment or two elapsed before the scared face of Thomas
appeared, but as Merwyn crossed the threshold he fainted.
They carried him to his room, and then Mr. Vosburgh said, "Bring
a physician and lose not a second. Say it is a case of life and
death. Hold! first bring me some brandy."
"Oh, oh!" Marian moaned, "I fear it's death! O papa he gave his
life for you."
"No, no," was the hoarse response; "it cannot, shall not be. It's
only a wound, and he has fainted from loss of blood. Show your nerve
now. Moisten his lips with brandy. You, Riten, chafe his wrists
with it, while I cut open his shirt and stanch the wound."
A second more and a terrible gash on Merwyn's breast was revealed.
How deep it was they could not know.
Marian held out her handkerchief, and it was first used to stop
the flow of blood. When it was taken away she put it in her bosom.
The old servant, Margy, now rushed in with lamentations.
"Hush!" said Mr. Vosburgh, sternly. "Chafe that other wrist with
But the swoon was prolonged, and Marian, pallid to her lips, sighed
and moaned as she did her father's bidding.
Thomas was not very long in bringing a good physician, who had
often attended the family. Marian watched his face as if she were
to read there a verdict in regard to her own life, and Mr. Vosburgh
evinced scarcely less solicitude.
"His pulse certainly shows great exhaustion; but I cannot yet
believe that it is a desperate case. We must first tally him, and
then I will examine his wound. Mr. Vosburgh, lift him up, and let
me see if I cannot make him swallow a little diluted brandy."
At last Merwyn revived somewhat, but did not seem conscious of what
was passing around him. The physician made a hasty examination of
the wound and said, "It is not so severe as to be fatal in itself,
but I don't like the hot, dry, feverish condition of his skin."
"He was feverish before he received the wound," said Marian, in a
whisper. "I fear he has been going far beyond his strength."
"I entreat you, sir, not to leave him," said Mr. Vosburgh, "until
you can give us more hope."
"Rest assured that I shall not. I am the family physician, and I
shall secure for him in the morning the best surgical aid in the
city. All that can be done in these times shall be done. Hereafter
there must be almost absolute quiet, especially when he begins to
notice anything. He must not be moved, or be allowed to move, until
I say it is safe. Perhaps if all retire, except myself and Thomas,
he will be less agitated when he recovers consciousness. Margy,
you make good, strong coffee, and get an early breakfast."
They all obeyed his suggestions at once.
The servant showed Mr. Vosburgh and his daughter into a sitting-room
on the same floor, and the poor girl, relieved from the necessity
of self-restraint, threw herself on a lounge and sobbed and moaned
as if her heart was breaking.
Wise Mr. Vosburgh did not at first restrain her, except by soothing,
gentle words. He knew that this was nature's relief, and that she
would soon be the better and calmer for it.
The physician wondered at the presence of strangers in the Merwyn
residence, and speedily saw how Marian felt towards his patient; but
he had observed professional reticence, knowing that explanations
would soon come. Meanwhile he carefully sought to rally his patient,
and watched each symptom.
At last Merwyn opened his eyes and asked, feebly: "Where am I? What
"You were injured, but are doing well," was the prompt reply. "You
know me, Dr. Henderson, and Thomas is here also. You are in your
"Yes, I see," and he remained silent for some little time; then
said, "I remember all now."
"You must keep quiet and try not to think, Mr. Merwyn. Your life
depends upon it."
"My mind has a strong disposition to wander."
"The more need of quiet."
"Miss Vosburgh is here. I must see her."
"Yes, by and by."
"Doctor, I fear I am going to be out of my mind. I must see Miss
Vosburgh. I will see her; and if you are wise you will permit me to
do so. My life depends upon it more than upon your skill. Do what
I ask, and I will be quiet"
"Very well, then, but the interview must be brief."
"It must be as I say."
Marian was summoned. Hastily drying her eyes, she tried to suppress
her strong emotion.
Merwyn feebly reached out his hand to her, and she sat down beside
"Do not try to talk," she whispered, taking his hand.
"Yes, I must while I am myself. Dr. Henderson, I love and honor
this girl, and would make her my wife should she consent. I may
be dying, but if she is willing to stay with me, it seems as if
I could live through everything, fever and all. If she is willing
and you do not permit her to stay, I want you to know that my blood
is on your hands! Marian, are you willing to stay?"
"Yes," she replied; and then, leaning down, she whispered: "I do
love you; I have loved you ever since I understood you. Oh, live
for my sake! What would life be now without you?"
"Now you shall stay."
"See, doctor, he is quiet while I am with him," she said, pleadingly.
"And only while you are with me. I know I should die if you were
"She shall stay with you, Mr. Merwyn, if you obey my orders in
other respects. I give you my word," said Dr. Henderson.
"Very well. Now have patience with me."
"Thomas," whispered the physician, "have the strongest beef tea
made, and keep it on hand."
Mr. Vosburgh intercepted the man, and was briefly told what had
taken place. "Now there is a chance for them both," the agitated
father muttered, as he restlessly paced the room. "Oh, how terribly
clouded would our lives be, should he die!"
MOTHER AND SON.
FOR a time Merwyn did keep quiet, but he soon began to mutter
brokenly and unintelligibly. Marian tried to remove her hand to
aid the physician a moment, but she felt the feeble tightening of
his clasp, and he cried, "No, no!"
This, for days, was the last sign he gave of intelligent comprehension
of what was going on around him.
"We must humor him as far as we can in safety," the doctor remarked,
in a low whisper, and so began the battle for life.
Day was now dawning, and Thomas was despatched for a very skilful
surgeon, who came and gave the help of long experience.
At last Dr. Henderson joined Mr. Vosburgh in the breakfast-room, and
the latter sent a cup of coffee to his daughter by the physician,
who said, when he returned: "I think it would be well for me to
know something about Mr. Merwyn's experience during the past few
days. I shall understand his condition better if I know the causes
which led to it."
Mr. Vosburgh told him everything.
"Well," said the doctor, emphatically, "we should do all within
human effort to save such a young fellow."
"I feel that I could give my life to save him," Mr. Vosburgh added.
Hours passed, and Merwyn's delirium became more pronounced. He
released his grasp on Marian's hand, and tossed his arms as if in
the deepest trouble, his disordered mind evidently reverting to
the time when life had been so dark and hopeless.
"Chained, chained," he would mutter. "Cruel, unnatural mother, to
chain her son like a slave. My oath is eating out my very heart.
SHE despises me as a coward. Oh if she knew what I was facing!"
and such was the burden of all his broken words.
The young girl now learned the secret which had been so long
unfathomed. Vainly, with streaming eyes, she tried at first to
reassure him, but the doctor told her it was of no use, the fever
must take its course. Yet her hand upon his brow and cheek often
seemed to have a subtle, quieting spell.
Mr. Vosburgh felt that, whatever happened, he must attend to his
duties. Therefore he went to headquarters and learned that the
crisis of the insurrection had passed. The Seventh Regiment was on
duty, and other militia organizations were near at hand.